Japanese anime director arrested for mass murder threats
A 42-year-old anime director from the city of Suita, in Osaka prefecture, was arrested in Japan on August 26 for allegedly threatening to commit mass murder.
Masaki Kitamura, who has worked on Yu-Gi-Oh! and Wolf's Rain, is suspected of posting a message on the Osaka Municipal Government's website on July 29 that stated "I will perpetrate a mass murder at Otaroad on Aug. 5". Otaroad is a pedestrian area popular with anime fans and gamers. Approximately 90 officers were put on alert but nothing transpired.
According to the Japan Times, he claimed not to have any recollection of doing so.
The threats were reminiscent of the 2008 Akibahara massacre in which an unemployed 25-year-old man, Tomohiro Kato, drove his truck into pedestrians in Tokyo's Akihabara shopping district (also devoted to games, comics, and electronics), then stabbed passersby with a knife, killing and injuring several people.
Osaka police also suspect Kitamura made a bomb threat regarding a Japan Airlines flight from Tokyo to New York City on August 1. Two hours after takeoff, the flight, carrying 247 passengers and 18 crew members, had to return to Tokyo's Narita Airport after a bomb threat was received. No explosives were found.
The emailed bomb threat demanded the release of Shoko Asahara, the Aum Shinrikyo religious cult leader who was responsible for the 1995 Tokyo subway sarin gas attack, from prison.